Instead of using the staircase,
risk the tendrilled stalks of ivy
and drop into the muddy copse below.
Your great grandfathers understood mud
as they slogged from village to village
peddling pots and ribbons and scissors.
They knew days with no light, nights
with no heat, years with no safety —
years of pogroms, famine, and loss.
But, still, you may collar their essence
if, shaking pearls from your ears,
you can know wet boots and windfall.
Susan Terris’ new book is “Ghost of Yesterday: New and Selected Poems” (Marsh Hawk Press, 2013). She is the editor of Spillway magazine and a poetry editor for Pedestal.